If you have ever read a magazine, watched television, or gone on the Internet (do you see where I'm going with this?), you've seen tampon advertisements left and right with smiling women who are jumping, swimming, or doing pretty much any physical activity with incredible ease. But here is the problem with those tampon commercials: showcasing women who are happily playing sports or joyfully running around is not an accurate representation of what women actually go through when they have their periods.
If you want a real representation of women on their periods, it would be a picture of a girl curled up in a ball on her couch or bed wearing oversized everything while crying and eating her weight in any and all snack food. Throw in some shots of her vomiting, and you are good to go. While these types of advertisements are definitely not a good marketing strategy for pads, tampons, and other period products, it is still worth mentioning that this is the experience many women face when it is their time of the month.
Another issue with these advertisements is that they perpetuate the idea that periods are something women can just shrug off or ignore, or that it isn't as uncomfortable as these ads would lead someone to believe. This is especially true of working women. Being a woman with a career is already hard enough as it is: with many male-orientated business models, women already feel like they have to work twice as hard as men, and enduring monthly and distracting torment is not exactly going to help them feel like equals among their male counterparts. With the addition of body-crippling cramps into the mix, being a woman in the job force just got a hell of a lot more complicated.
These advertisements also give women a bad rep if they do not feel magically giddy and athletic while on their period. As someone who experiences the extremes of all torturous period symptoms, I have constantly been told by both men and women, "You're just being dramatic," "Suck it up, it's not so bad," and my personal favorite, "Every girl in the world gets their period and can handle their daily lives, why can't you?" Granted, I know that I am far from the easiest person to be around when Mother Nature decides to curse me with her presence (my family and friends have learned to keep a safe distance), but as someone who will literally sit in the fetal position for hours because of the amount of pain I am in, it infuriates me to no end when people do not understand that my period isn't something I can just turn off or ignore altogether.
I'm not suggesting that all tampon advertisements be changed to anything I previously mentioned (although I really hope it's considered), but I do believe that people need to understand the impact that these campaigns have had on our society's views of women on their period. No two women are the same, which means no two women experience their periods in the same way, and they should be treated and represented as such.